Although the use of nonhost plants intercropped among host crops has been a standard agricultural practice for reducing insect herbivory for millennia, the use of nonhost signals to deter forest pests is much more recent, having been developed over the past several decades. Early exploratory studies with synthetic nonhost volatile semiochemicals led to targeted electrophysiological and trapping experiments on a variety of bark and ambrosia beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) across three continents. This work disclosed a suite of antennally and behaviourally active nonhost volatiles, which are detected in common across a range of coniferophagous bark beetles. It also established the fact that dispersing bark and ambrosia beetles detect nonhost signals while in flight and avoid nonhost trees without necessarily landing on them. Later work showed that groups of synthetic nonhost volatiles, sometimes combined with insect-derived antiaggregants, are effective in protecting individual trees and forest stands. Further work in this system may lead to the development of a variety of new and useful tactics for use in various integrated pest management strategies.