Considerable research efforts have been made to predict the influences of climate change on species composition in biological communities. However, little is known about how changing environmental conditions and anthropogenic pollution can affect aquatic communities in combination. We investigated the influence of short warming periods on the response of a zooplankton community to the insecticide esfenvalerate at a range of environmentally realistic concentrations (0.03, 0.3 and 3 μg L−1) in 55 outdoor pond microcosms. Warming periods increased the cumulative water temperature, but did not exceed the maximum temperature measured under ambient conditions. Under warming conditions alone the abundance of some zooplankton taxa increased selectively compared to ambient conditions. This resulted in a shift in the community composition that had not recovered by the end of the experiment, 8 weeks after the last warming period. Regarding the pesticide exposure, short-term effects of esfenvalerate on the community structure and the sensitive taxa Daphnia spp. did not differ between the two temperature regimes. In contrast, long-term effects of esfenvalerate on Daphnia spp., a taxon that did not benefit from elevated temperatures, were observed twice as long under warming than under ambient conditions. This resulted in long-term effects on Daphnia spp. until 4 months after contamination at 3 μg L−1 esfenvalerate. Under both temperature regimes, we identified strength of interspecific competition as the mechanism determining the time until recovery. However, enhanced interspecific competition under warming conditions was prolonged and explained the delayed recovery of Daphnia spp. from esfenvalerate. These results show that, for realistic prediction of the combined effects of changing environmental factors and toxicants on sensitive taxa, the impacts of stressors on the biotic interactions within the community need to be considered.