Three tick- and skeeter-scaring ingredients that let you enjoy the great outdoors without paying for it later.

If you’re barbecuing...

You need lemon eucalyptus

Don’t let the gentle name fool you—this chemically synthesized substance has been shown to be as effective at repelling mosquitos as low concentrations of DEET. (For other DEET alternatives, consider formulas with 20 percent picaridin. Unlike oil of lemon eucalyptus, it can be used on kids under 3.)

Try:Â Repel Lemon Eucalyptus ($6, amazon.com).

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If you're going for a hike…

You need DEET

It's the gold standard for protection against the bugs that carry diseases like West Nile and Lyme. Some doctors have raised health concerns, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers DEET safe if you follow the directions. (Experts also suggest using formulas that are just 20 to 30 percent DEET.)

Try: Off! Deep Woods Dry ($6, target.com)

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If you're camping in the backcountry...

You need Permethrin

Rather than repelling bugs, this wearable insecticide kills them on contact. Spray your clothes; permethrin will work for up to six washes—killing ticks, mosquitos, mites and many other kinds of pests. (You may still want to use a repellent on any exposed skin.)

Try:Â Sawyer permethrin ($17, amazon.com).

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