Helicoverpa punctigera (native budworm) is an important pest species in crops across Australia. From the third instar onward, this species causes severe damage to crop plants: therefore, caterpillars need to be managed at an early stage of their development. In our experiment, we raised H. punctigera on an artificial diet, which included different concentrations of the natural insecticides Spinetoram and Azadirachtin. The survival of the larvae, growth and body mass gain was recorded over 17 days. Only caterpillars raised on lowest toxin concentrations survived and molted successfully to the fifth instar, but had slower growth and body mass gain compared to the insecticide-free control group. Caterpillars fed on higher toxin concentrations never molted to the next instar or died in the first few days. To test how the toxins influence physiological conditions including metabolic rate and water loss, surviving fifth instar larvae were exposed to thermolimit respirometry: starting at 25°C following a constant increasing temperature ramping rate of 0.25°C –1, until reaching the critical thermal maxima (CT max ). Caterpillars raised on a non-lethal dose of insecticides had higher metabolic rates and lost more water compared to the control group. Insects that have seem to consume more energy per mg tissue and have a higher water loss at high temperatures. Non-lethal concentrations of insecticides on pest insects physiology may reduce their impact on crops and may enable more targetted insecticide application.