White House press charter plane delayed by cicadas

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A periodical Brood X cicada climbs up an oak tree in Washington, DC on May 20, 2021. - Some are waiting for their arrival with trepidation, others are curious what they might taste like: Americans are swapping tips on how best to weather the storm when billions of cicadas soon emerge en masse after 17 years underground. Before invading parks and people's gardens, the insects have already conquered the airwaves, social media and newspapers, especially in parts of the eastern, central and southern United States where "Brood X" is due to emerge. (Photo by Mandel Ngan / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNN) — It’s a flight delay 17 years in the making.

The White House press charter plane scheduled to leave Washington on Tuesday evening ahead of Joe Biden’s first trip abroad as president has been delayed by cicadas, the noisy insects that have emerged after their nearly two decades of slumber.

The chartered plane was scheduled to depart around 9 p.m. ET, but a new plane had to be dispatched to Dulles International Airport after airline officials informed White House travel aides that cicadas had invaded exterior sections of the plane late Tuesday afternoon.

The flight left early Wednesday morning, more than six and a half hours behind schedule.

Biden is also scheduled to depart for England on Wednesday morning aboard Air Force One — an aircraft that presumably has better protection from the East Coast cicada invasion.

The loud, cacophonous bugs first emerged from the ground in May on the East Coast as part of Brood X, which comes out every 17 years, according to the National Park Service.

To some, the brood’s emergence is an awe-inspiring experience, worthy of glossy cicada photo shoots and endless media profiles. To others, cicadas can be a creepy, inescapable nuisance (one recently crawled onto CNN’s chief congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, during preparations for a live shot).

This round of cicadas will be dying off in late June and early July, so we can look forward to the next time they come, in 2038.