Osmia rufa is a solitary bee that is used commercially for pollinating crops. The bee enters obligatory diapause as an imago. The activity of proteolytic enzymes during diapause has not been investigated. We studied the proteinase activity on four substrates - casein, haemoglobin, bovine serum albumin (BSA ), and gelatine - during diapause (from October to March) and in newly hatched males and females in April. During diapause, greater fluctuations in enzyme activity levels were noted in males than in females, and a significant decrease in male enzyme activity was observed in January and March. Male enzymes were most effective in decomposing gelatine; whereas, female enzymes were equally effective in hydrolysing gelatine and BSA . The differences in substrate preferences between male and female enzymes were particularly pronounced in October and in the newly hatched individuals. The levels of gelatinolytic activity likely indicate that a high proportion of proteinases in O. rufa are elastase-like enzymes. They are involved in the digestion and remodelling of proteins with numerous peptide bonds formed by amino acids with short side-chains.