MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- To holiday enthusiasts mice are nothing more than a line in The Night Before Christmas, but throughout the country rodents will be stirring this winter as they invade more than 21 million homes. "Mice and rats live in nearly every environment in the world, and they are commonly present in our yards and communities," said Stoy Hedges, Terminix manager of technical services. "Unfortunately for homeowners, the lack of grains, seeds and plant life during the winter months often sends these pests into homes, apartments and other buildings in search of food." Rodents, like mice and rats, gain entry to homes and buildings through exterior openings. Rats can squeeze through openings as small as a quarter, and mice can slide through holes smaller than a dime. Rodents are also great climbers and can scale rough surfaces and vertical pipes to gain entry to buildings through vents and utility openings. This seasonal co-habitation between rodents and humans is potentially harmful as rodents can cause fires by gnawing through electrical wires. They are also known to carry more than 200 human pathogens and are credited with biting more than 45,000 people annually. To avoid rodent home invasions, homeowners should: - Store firewood as far from the home as possible, and keep it off the ground. - Remove any piles of debris, stones, bricks, etc. If these are near the foundation of the home, they provide shelter and can conceal rodent entry points. - Seal any hole or crack in your home larger than 1/4 of an inch. Large openings should be stuffed with steel wool or wire mesh before sealing. - Ensure attic and foundation vents are covered with tight-fitting 1/4 inch hardware cloth. Regular insect screening will not deter rodents. - Install a tight-fitting weather strip on the bottom of all doors. Terminix is the world leader in termite and pest control, serving more homes and businesses than any other company. With a national network of more than 450 service centers using the latest technologies, our resources in the fight against termites and pests are unmatched. Our dedicated workforce of over 12,000 associates nationwide deliver superior service and the strongest guarantees in the industry. To learn more about Terminix, visit terminix.com or call 1-800-Terminix.