I have a strong dislike for the summer season for a number of reasons, not the least of which is, bugs!

Gnats that fly up your nose, into your eyes and mouth while simply trying to have a conversation, take a walk or mow the lawn- -maddening! Junebugs who try to commit hari-kari by smashing into your hair in the evening- -disgusting!

Ticks who silently burrow into your skin when you're not looking- -gross! Flies and disease-spreading skeeters, buzzing and biting- -hate, hate, hate them!

My way of avoiding insects won't work for everyone. I basically hole up indoors and hang out with my close friend, air-conditioning.

But if you feel compelled to actually spend a large part of your life in the great outdoors this summer, especially after being cooped up for weeks on end, at the very least you'll want to protect yourself and your family from the nasty buggers that are out there.

Consumer Reports (CR) tests these products year-round to find the most effective and economical ones on the market. This year's crop contains some fairly expensive selections, but they always highlight the ones that work well and are low-priced.

All of the recommended products contain one of three repellents in varying quantities. DEET provides long-lasting protection from mosquitoes and ticks, but do not use a higher concentration than 30% as it can cause health issues and never use on babies under 2 months.

Picaridin is a synthetic insect repellent that seems to work best when it is in a spray form. It can irritate eyes however and again extreme caution is indicated when using on young children.

Finally, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE) is a refined version of an extract from the gum eucalyptus tree. It is not an essential oil and none of the products which contain them protect well against insects- -of any kind. OLE can cause eye injury and is not recommended for children under 3.

Here are the Consumer Reports top-rated insect repellent products for this summer.

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