Abstract The response of the large pine weevil (Hylobius abietis) to the pesticide lambda-cyhalothrin, a pyrethroid, is investigated. Both behavioural (feeding preferences) and nutritional and physiological (lipid content) responses are recorded. Hylobius abietis shows both a significant avoidance of pesticide-treated food sources and a decrease in lipid content after exposure, but a full recovery after feeding on untreated food. It is proposed that the mechanism for the pesticide avoidance and altered lipid levels is due to an anti-feedant effect of the pesticide. Implications for pest management programmes are described.