RNA interference (RNAi) mediated crop protection against insect pests is a technology that is greatly anticipated by the academic and industrial pest control communities. Prior to commercialization, factors influencing the potential for evolution of insect resistance to RNAi should be evaluated. While mutations in genes encoding the RNAi machinery or the sequences targeted for interference may serve as a prominent mechanism of resistance evolution, differential effects of RNAi on target pests may also facilitate such evolution. However, to date, little is known about how variation of field insect populations could influence the effectiveness of RNAi treatments. To approach this question, we evaluated the effects of RNAi treatments on adults of three western corn rootworm (WCR; Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) populations exhibiting different levels of gut cysteine protease activity, tolerance of soybean herbivory, and immune gene expression; two populations were collected from crop rotation-resistant (RR) problem areas and one from a location where RR was not observed (wild type; WT). Our results demonstrated that RNAi targeting DvRS5 (a highly expressed cysteine protease gene) reduced gut cysteine protease activity in all three WCR populations. However, the proportion of the cysteine protease activity that was inhibited varied across populations. When WCR adults were treated with double-stranded RNA of an immune gene att1, different changes in survival among WT and RR populations on soybean diets occurred. Notably, for both genes, the sequences targeted for RNAi were the same across all populations examined. These findings indicate that the effectiveness of RNAi treatments could vary among field populations depending on their physiological and genetic backgrounds and that the consistency of an RNAi trait's effectiveness on phenotypically different populations should be considered or tested prior to wide deployment. Also, genes that are potentially subjected to differential selection in the field should be avoided for RNAi-based pest control.