Insecticide resistance is a serious economic problem that jeopardizes sustainability of chemical control of herbivorous insects and related arthropods. It can be viewed as a specific case of adaptation to toxic chemicals, which has been driven in large part, but not exclusively, by the necessity for insect pests to tolerate defensive compounds produced by their host plants. Synthetic insecticides may simply change expression of specific sets of detoxification genes that have evolved due to ancestral associations with host plants. Feeding on host plants with more abundant or novel secondary metabolites has even been shown to prime insect herbivores to tolerate pesticides. Clear understanding of basic evolutionary processes is important for achieving lasting success in managing herbivorous arthropods.