Hail To The Cicadas

Jun 9, 2021
Originally published on June 9, 2021 6:13 pm
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Maybe you thought we were done talking about cicadas.

(SOUNDBITE OF CICADAS BUZZING)

KELLY: No such luck - Brood X cicadas began emerging by the trillions weeks ago from the East Coast to the Midwest. And we have got weeks to go before they're gone.

(SOUNDBITE OF CICADAS BUZZING)

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Now, cicadas are harmless, but that doesn't mean they can't be annoying. I'm on the West Coast, but anyone who has lived through the great cicada emergence of 2021 will tell you these things are just big, old prehistoric drones that don't fly very well. They bump into windows, walls, people, and they get into just about everything, even plane engines.

KELLY: Yeah, like last night when dozens of journalists covering President Biden's first trip abroad had their flight from the D.C. area to Europe delayed for several hours - a swarm of cicadas had found their way into the engines, causing, as you might imagine, some mechanical problems. White House aides had to scramble and get the press on another flight.

CHANG: Biden's plane, Air Force One, was unaffected, but the president himself wasn't so lucky. This morning at Joint Base Andrews, he paused to talk with a military officer while crossing the tarmac to his Europe-bound jet. That's when one of the dopey dive-bombers zeroed in on Biden's neck.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Watch out for the cicadas. I just got one. It got me.

KELLY: Even presidents have to keep on their toes during cicada season, which should wrap up in July.

CHANG: In the meantime, if you are traveling overseas, may we suggest a cruise?

(SOUNDBITE OF PHARRELL SONG, "STAY WITH ME") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.