It’s that time of year again. You just can’t wait to get out into the gorgeous summer sun, but you dread being eaten up by mosquitos, ticks (especially if you’re a hiker), and other pests.

You not only have to deal with the difficulty of avoiding bug bites, you also have to take extra care to avoid toxic insect repellant formulas full of chemicals like N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide or DEET. The highly effective ingredient in many commercial bug sprays, DEET can also cause health problems if used liberally or if inhaled, including difficulty breathing, coughing, upset stomach or allergic reactions. It also cannot be sprayed around infants or small children.

The great news is there are now lots of alternatives to potentially unhealthy products like DEET. Here are the latest ways to stay bug free:

Use the power of natural oils. Consumer Reports recently rated Repel Lemon Eucalyptus bug repellent as nearly equal to DEET in its power to banish chiggers, mosquito, and ticks for up to seven hours. Yet, the product is DEET-free. The active ingredients are the lemon and Eucalyptus oils that make up 30 percent of the formula. It’s much less toxic than other choices, but you should still use as little as possible and take extra care when using it on older adults or small children.

Wear the shield. If you’re into hiking or nature walks, there are now entire lines of insect repellant and resistant clothing than can protect you and limit the amount of insecticide you need to spray on your skin. Insectsheild, a product endorsed by the Environmental Protection Agency, can be found in several lines of T-shirts, slacks, hats and light cover-ups. Try the Columbia’s Bug Blocker line or Exofficio’s BugsAway Anti-Insect line.

Don’t become bug bait. When it comes to the battle of the bugs, you can inadvertently make yourself an incredibly attractive target. Bugs, especially mosquitoes, just love:

▪ Dark colors, especially blue.

▪ Fabulous, flower-scented cologne

▪ Lactic acid, the key ingredient in alpha-hydroxy moisturizers and lotions.

To avoid being a bug magnet, shower with a lightly scented or non-scented soap, wear lots of light or neutral colors and check the ingredients in your moisturizer.

Protect your patio. If mosquitoes keep you away from your deck or backyard, there are a couple a small fixes that might help. Position a strong fan near your sitting area and let the air flow. Mosquitoes are weak flyers, so you will literally blow them away.

If you like to sit outside at night, use LED lights in your outdoor light fixtures. LED bulbs emit very little UV light, so insects are less attracted to their glow. Bonus: you’ll save on electricity.

About Fierce Fridays — Tips for Weekend Well-Being

We each cherish those precious days off at the end of the week, but increasingly those of us who are charter members of the sisterhood of the stressed and overworked are losing our Saturday and Sunday leisure time to weekend work and domestic duties.

To make sure that you do something every weekend that’s just for you, we’ll be sharing a little advice to make those 48 hours a great time to recharge your batteries, bring a little good news into your life, or discover a quick and easy way to improve your health.