The sequence of the dsRNA is designed very specifically to complement a sequence within an essential gene of the targeted insect.
The dsRNA is delivered to the insect midgut through feeding.
Once the dsRNA is inside the insect cell, it is processed by the insect’s own RNAi pathway into a smaller, single-stranded RNA, called a guide RNA. Through complementary base pairing, this RNA identifies the targeted insect gene and guides the rest of the RNAi machinery to effectively disrupt the expression of the gene.
The microbial balance of the insect's gut is upset and microorganisms are not cleared from the insect's system, resulting in increased mortality. The insect dies. The plant and other insects are unaffected.