In this article, we describe and compare two individual-based models constructed to investigate how genetic factors influence the development of phosphine resistance in lesser grain borer (*R. dominica*). One model is based on the simplifying assumption that resistance is conferred by alleles at a single locus, while the other is based on the more realistic assumption that resistance is conferred by alleles at two separate loci. We simulated the population dynamic of *R. dominica* in the absence of phosphine fumigation, and under high and low dose phosphine treatments, and found important differences between the predictions of the two models in all three cases. In the absence of fumigation, starting from the same initial frequencies of genotypes, the two models tended to different stable frequencies, although both reached Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium. The one-locus model exaggerated the equilibrium proportion of strongly resistant beetles by 3.6 times, compared to the aggregated predictions of the two-locus model. Under a low dose treatment the one-locus model overestimated the proportion of strongly resistant individuals within the population and underestimated the total population numbers compared to the two-locus model. These results show the importance of basing resistance evolution models on realistic genetics and that using oversimplified one-locus models to develop pest control strategies runs the risk of not correctly identifying tactics to minimise the incidence of pest infestation.