Periodical cicadas emerge from underground every 13 or 17 years, depending upon which brood the cicadas belong to. The year a particular brood emerges often differs from other broods and is also dependent on geography. The periodical cicada, although unrelated, is often mistakenly called a locust.
Periodical cicadas reach approximately 1.5 inches in adulthood and are notable for their red-orange eyes. As nymphs, cicadas spend many years living in soil between 2 and 24 inches in depth. Once the cicadas reach the surface, they must find a tree or other vertical surface on which to moult and complete their metamorphosis. After shedding their skins, cicadas are adults and fully capable of flight.