The diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), is a widespread and destructive pest of cruciferous crops. Owing to its increasing resistance to conventional pesticides, new strategies need to be developed for diamondback moth control. Here, we investigated factors that modulate juvenile hormone esterase (JHE) activity and jhe (Px004817) transcription, and determined the effects of these factors on subsequent growth and development in diamondback moth. Starvation inhibited JHE activity and jhe transcription, increased mortality, and decreased the rate of molting from the third- to the fourth-instar stages. Larvae kept at 32°C molted earlier and showed increased JHE activity and jhe transcription after 24-h treatment. Exposure to 1,325 mg/liter OTFP (3-octylthio-1,1,1-trifluoro-2-propanone) delayed molting and pupation, increased pupal weight, and decreased JHE activity and jhe transcription at both 24 and 48 h. Treatment with 500 mg/liter pyriproxyfen delayed molting, completely suppressed pupation, and significantly increased JHE activity at 48 h and jhe transcription at 24 and 48 h. A combination of OTFP (1,325 mg/liter) and pyriproxyfen (500 mg/liter) induced the highest mortality, delayed molting, completely suppressed pupation, and significantly increased JHE activity at 48 h and jhe transcription at 24 and 48 h. These effects on JHE activity and jhe transcription were similar to those in insects treated only with pyriproxyfen. The results demonstrated that JHE and jhe (Px004817) were involved in the responses of diamondback moth to external modulators and caused changes in growth and development. The combination of OTFP and pyriproxyfen increased the effectiveness of action against diamondback moth.