Skip to main content

Cicadas Prove Their Strength by Grounding Plane and Going After President Joe Biden

Let them fight.

President Joe Biden wipes his neck after a cicada landed on him while boarding Air Force One.

Sometimes you come across a story that makes you wonder how you got here and if you’ve reached the height of your career. This story about cicadas taking on a plane full of reporters following President Joe Biden’s tour and winning feels like that moment, and I regret nothing. Seriously, they are the pests of the nation and have waited 17 years to enact their revenge. I don’t know what for, but there is definitely something nefarious going on here.

It also brings up the question, are cicadas dangerous? Well, according to Matt Kasson, an associate professor of forest pathology and mycology at West Virginia University, “Cicadas can injure small trees and shrubs but cause no harm to humans.” Delaying a flight that was supposed to take off at 9PM and didn’t depart until 2:15AM doesn’t technically harm humans. It just annoys them and shows the cicadas’ power.

The New York Times reported that the insects had filled the plane’s engines, grounded it, and then forced President Joe Biden’s aides to find alternatives for the reporters gathered. A new plane had to be brought in from New York, and then a new pilot was coming in from Cleveland. And officials and aides hoped that both would make it safely through a mass of cicadas that were being picked up on radar.

Yes, you read that right. Cicadas are causing such a problem in D.C. that they are showing up as radar shades that usually indicate light rain or snow, according to The Washington Post. The National Weather Service even tweeted out, “You may have noticed a lot of fuzziness (low reflectivity values) on our radar recently. The Hydrometeor Classification algorithm shows much of it to be Biological in nature. Our guess? It’s probably the #cicadas.”

After taking down a whole plane with their power, you’d think that the cicadas were done for the week. They absolutely weren’t! During a CNN live stream, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden could be seen talking outside of Air Force One. And Joe, who was minding his own business, suddenly swats at his neck and a cicada goes flying! On a special side note, I love that Joe just kept talking when I know in my heart I would jump and probably yelp in surprise.

When will the cicada terror end? What is their move? Which plane do they plan on grounding next? According to Dr. Kasson, the billions of cicadas that have emerged and that are named Brood X, will be around for about 4 to six weeks. They will mate, lay eggs, and then when the nymphs hatch they will go underground for 17 years before returning in 2038. So here’s hoping these weeks fly by and that the cicada reign of terror ends soon, for all our sakes.

(image: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.