WASHINGTON (May 6, 2013)—In a matter of days, billions of cicadas with bulging red eyes will emerged from underground and overrun parts of the East Coast.
They don't do any harm.
It's an event that occurs in the region just once every 17 years.
The cicadas have been underground since 1996, feeding on tree roots.
Once the ground is precisely 64 degrees, they will crawl out, and eventually shed their outer skins to emerge with wings.
Then they will make a lot of noise, mate and die.
Their offspring will burrow back into the ground to start the 17-year cycle all over again.
It's not clear how the insects get their timing just right.