Many lepidopteran insects are agricultural pests that affect stored grains, food and fiber crops. These insects have negative ecological and economic impacts since they lower crop yield, and pesticides are expensive and can have off-target effects on beneficial arthropods. A better understanding of lepidopteran immunity will aid in identifying new targets for the development of specific insect pest management compounds. A fundamental aspect of immunity, and therefore a logical target for control, is the induction of antimicrobial peptide (AMP) expression. These peptides insert into and disrupt microbial membranes, thereby promoting pathogen clearance and insect survival. Pathways leading to AMP expression have been extensively studied in the dipteran Drosophila melanogaster
. However, Diptera are an important group of pollinators and pest management strategies that target their immune systems is not recommended. Recent advances have facilitated investigation of lepidopteran immunity, revealing both conserved and derived characteristics. Although the general pathways leading to AMP expression are conserved, specific components of these pathways, such as recognition proteins have diverged. In this review we highlight how such comparative immunology could aid in developing pest management strategies that are specific to agricultural insect pests.