The mountain pine beetle epidemic has highlighted the complex interactions of bark beetles with conifer host defenses. In these interactions, oleoresin terpenoids and volatiles, produced and released by the host tree, can be both harmful and beneficial to the beetle's success in colonizing a tree and completing its life cycle. The insect spends almost its entire life, from egg to adult, within the bark and phloem of a pine host, exposed to large quantities of complex mixtures of oleoresin terpenoids. Conifer oleoresin comprises mostly monoterpenes and diterpene resin acids as well as many different sesquiterpenes. It functions as a major chemical and physical defense system. However, the insect has evolved host colonization behavior and enzymes for terpenoid metabolism and detoxification that allow it to overcome some of the terpenoid defenses and, importantly, to co-opt pine monoterpenes as cues for host search and as a precursor for its own pheromone system. The insect-associated microbiome also plays a role in the metabolism of conifer terpenoids.