ATLANTA, Nov. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As the cool temperatures start to settle in for the next few months, Orkin, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rollins Inc. (NYSE: ROL), advises homeowners to pest-proof their homes now, because fall is when most insect and rodent pests seek shelter for the winter months. "With the recent cool weather, rodents and other pests tend to move inside around this time of year to find a warm place for the winter and breed," said Dr. Tom Zorka, Orkin's Midwest division technical services director. "A pregnant female mouse can produce an average of eight pups in a litter, and a rat, seven pups on average, and there are typically four to five litters per year. Their gestation period is about a month, so one mouse can turn into a major problem very quickly for homeowners." Mice can fit through an opening smaller than the size of a dime, so it is important to fix any cracks in and under siding, doors and windows. In addition to warmth, rodents enter homes looking for food and water. They prefer cereals and grains, but will eat just about anything. However, rodents aren't just a nuisance—they can also pose health threats. "With the recent increase in the number of vector borne diseases caused by Hantavirus and Bubonic plague in rural parts of the western states, you need to be proactive in protecting your home this winter against mice and rats," said Zorka. "Rodent activity is higher there this year." Hantavirus is carried in rodent urine and feces, and people can breathe in the affected particles through the air. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the plague is most often transmitted by fleas. When an infected rodent dies from the plague and the fleas from that can carry the bacteria when they bite people or pets.