Social insects represent a group of organisms that have dual importance from perspectives relating to both basic and applied science. From a basic perspective, social insects serve as excellent model systems for studying social organization, behavioral ecology, neurobiology, and phenotypic plasticity. From applied perspectives, social insects play important roles in the pollination of agricultural crops, in the damage of human structures and commodities, and in cellulose processing in natural ecosystems. With the advent of insect sociogenomics research (and the ability to identify dozens or hundreds of relevant candidate genes from a single experiment) has come a great demand for functional genomics tools for application in gene characterization. To date, RNAi is one of the most powerful tools to have become available for such functional characterizations, and it has broad relevance across a range of insect sociobiology research topics.