The human lung is continually exposed to airborne conidia of the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus (AF)and related species. The innate immune system efficiently eliminates inhaled AF conidia from the lung in normal individuals, but immunocompromised patients are at risk for highly lethal invasive aspergillosis (IA). Some individuals not at risk for IA may still suffer from failed clearance of AF in the form of noninvasive colonization associated with conditions such as allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. Understanding of normal innate immune function against AF as well as failures of these functions will enable better treatment of these patient groups. In this review, we will focus on recent research that elucidates mechanisms of host defense and their failures resulting in colonization as well as tissue invasion.