Fake Fly in Urinal

Status: Strange, but apparently true.
A pair of images showing a urinal with a fake fly etched into the porcelain is doing the rounds. (I'd guess it's been circulating for at least two years.) The images are accompanied by this caption:

In Amsterdam, the tile under Schiphol's urinals would pass inspection in an operating room. But nobody notices. What everybody does notice is that each urinal has a fly in it. Look harder, and the fly turns into the black outline of a fly, etched into the porcelain. It improves the aim. If a man sees a fly, he aims at it. Fly-in-urinal research found that etchings reduce spillage by 80%. It gives a guy something to think about. That's the perfect example of process control.

Apparently this is true. Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam does sport fly urinals. (Though I'd be interested in getting first-hand verification of this.) The Straight Dope reports that New York's Kennedy airport is considering using the same fake-fly technology.

image image

Animals Gross

Posted on Tue Sep 20, 2005


That is sooooo cool....they would keep trying to pee on it.....lol....I can appreciate the humor in that....
Posted by X  on  Tue Sep 20, 2005  at  03:25 PM
I went to college in Liverpool in the 1970s and the Victorian pubs had large stand up urinals with flies glazed under the porcelain. Maybe from about 1880s. Nothing new, huh?
Posted by matthew  on  Tue Sep 20, 2005  at  04:12 PM
Well, I've been to Schiphol Airport, and I don't recall the tiles being all that clean, or there being flies in the urinals, either. But my last visit there was some years ago. It might have changed.
Posted by Big Gary in Dallas  on  Tue Sep 20, 2005  at  04:29 PM
in germany, ive experienced urinals in several different places which have tiny goalposts and a football (sigh.... 'soccer ball') suspended from a thread. with careful aim the ball can be directed neatly into the goal. limitless fun...
Posted by Nick  on  Tue Sep 20, 2005  at  04:31 PM
I just have to ask, why do men do these things anyway? I've seen guys do that and I think it's awfully weird.
Posted by Winona  on  Tue Sep 20, 2005  at  10:08 PM
Heh.. wha'ts next? little ceramic cigarette butts?
Posted by Bobcat  on  Tue Sep 20, 2005  at  10:52 PM
I was in Schiphol last month, and the flies were there. I thought it was pretty clever...
Posted by Alastair  on  Wed Sep 21, 2005  at  12:06 AM
Not only in Schiphol: I've seen the same model in several other places in Europe. Nearest to my home: the Woluwe Shopping Center in Brussels.
Posted by Enrique  on  Wed Sep 21, 2005  at  02:27 AM
At least 10 yrs old. Next!
Posted by Jerry S  on  Wed Sep 21, 2005  at  03:00 AM
Why do men have such a problem getting it into the urinal?

I hear that cheerios does the same job.
Posted by Maegan  on  Wed Sep 21, 2005  at  04:57 AM
Posted by Beasjt  on  Wed Sep 21, 2005  at  05:47 AM
I just mentioned this story to a friend of mine who's just been travelling round the US, and he says JFK already has these fly etchings. And he did indeed automatically aim at it.
Posted by Steevil  on  Wed Sep 21, 2005  at  07:06 AM
Like a few people said before, this is old news. It's pretty commonly used on public urinals in a number of European countries.
Posted by Nathan  on  Wed Sep 21, 2005  at  07:12 AM
its true, i live inn amsterdam and go regurlaly through the airport
Posted by jack  on  Wed Sep 21, 2005  at  09:29 AM
It's definitely true, Schiphol Airport has these, for quite some time actually. As do many pubs here. And it works!

LaMa (the Netherlands)
Posted by LaMa  on  Wed Sep 21, 2005  at  10:46 AM
I can confirm that Terminal 4 at JFK, the international air terminal does indeed have the fly in the urinals and has since it's opening a few years ago.
Posted by WileE  on  Wed Sep 21, 2005  at  03:23 PM
I think it
Posted by Tommy dry legs  on  Thu Sep 22, 2005  at  05:50 AM
Men..lol they never cease to amaze me, they still need something to amuse themselves with when they go to the bathroom. You wanna know what we WO men get? we get to read the writing on the walls, there's not much fly shootin goin on in the women's bathrooms 😕
Posted by spazEabE  on  Thu Sep 22, 2005  at  02:03 PM
I've seen plenty such ceramic insects over the years (and I don't make a habit of going into the gents'). More to the point, I once read somewhere, I forget where, that the Victorians liked their cultured little jokes and originally printed bees on their urinals (apis in Latin).
Posted by sue  on  Fri Sep 23, 2005  at  08:31 AM
Are you telling me this is not a common trick throughout the whole world? These fake flies are everywhere in Dutch toilets. Some are even accompanied by real flies. Haha!
Posted by Scheisse  on  Fri Sep 23, 2005  at  07:25 PM
Not flies - bees. It's a pun:

The Latin for bee is apis.
Posted by Gordon Charlton  on  Sat Sep 24, 2005  at  02:10 AM
What's up with all the man hatin'? So some of us like to practice our penmanship, or create little flowers and circles when we tinkle. So what? I will sometimes clean the toilet of debris when I pee. Big deal. I do think the guy that invented the fly is a real whiz...
Posted by booch  on  Sat Sep 24, 2005  at  09:53 PM
I read of a similar device used in chamberpots and turn-of-the-last-century urinals. The only difference was they had a tiny bee rather than a fly painted on them. Such bees were known as 'aiming bees.' They were occasionally referred to as 'apis' (pronounced in the French manner). You may draw your own conclusions.
Posted by Xtine  on  Sat Sep 24, 2005  at  11:34 PM
Munich airport has these as well.
Posted by Colin  on  Mon Sep 26, 2005  at  05:35 AM
I've seen the flies at Schiphol too, and some urinals in the US have Hanoi Jane urinal targets:

Posted by Eivind  on  Mon Sep 26, 2005  at  06:56 AM
In Spain there are aiming SPIDERS in many public urinals and toilets. No flys or bees.

I got scared almost every time I saw one.
And until now I didn't know exactly why that sticker was there.
Posted by Fred  on  Mon Sep 26, 2005  at  10:40 PM
At work we just got some "waterless urinals" in a new bathroom, and they all have little bees in them. Would work just as well with pictures of managers. 😊
Posted by David  on  Mon Oct 31, 2005  at  12:42 AM
I used to use urinals like this a lot a few years ago - I was well trained: 96% accuracy. Problem is, now every time I see a fly I have an overwhelming urge to piss on it! Oh the embarrasment! I'll never be invited to a picnic again!
Posted by Anton  on  Sat Nov 12, 2005  at  09:57 PM
Waterless Co., Vista CA--the manufactures of the No-Flush waterless urinal also manufactures urinals with a fly etched in the vitreous china urinals
Posted by Jack Koenig  on  Wed Feb 15, 2006  at  08:04 AM
Who manufacture these fake urinal flies. where can I get hold of the company. I was in Schipol Airport June 2005 and took some photographs of these "flies" The men tried to close their fly's as quickly as possible, since they thought I was some sort of pervert. They were very relieved when i told them it was for a research project.
Posted by Deks Dekenah  on  Fri Mar 03, 2006  at  11:47 PM
You can buy the stickers at this site:
Posted by Doug  on  Tue Jun 13, 2006  at  02:49 PM
I just found a website....www.urinalfly.com....where you can order fly stickers to place in urinals to reduce spillage and keep a cleaner bathroom. Great idea!
Posted by ken  on  Mon Jul 17, 2006  at  09:47 AM
This is true - I see them about twice a year..
Posted by The Flying Dutchman  on  Fri Jun 15, 2007  at  12:57 PM
Those little bees are all over here at the University of Colorado at Boulder. They are installing new Sloan waterfree urinals everywhere and they all feature a little bee 😊
Posted by Tim  on  Sun Oct 14, 2007  at  06:03 PM
Pee on the Bee with Sloan Water Free... very clever, yeah they just installed a bunch at Broward Community College (north campus)
Posted by RK  on  Tue Feb 26, 2008  at  08:41 PM
just return from tunisia holidaywhere i spend the last 2 days looking around searching all the toilet for this fly i saw in the urinals with fly in toilet so that i can photogragph and show it to my wife.trouble is i forgot which toilet i been and saw this fly ,so i looked in the web and found one.
Posted by bj  on  Wed Jul 22, 2009  at  12:06 PM
I know this is a common observation, but I feel it is in error. I don't know why men have been too shy to respond with the unsavory truth, considering the nature of the critism is not kindly put forth. So here goes: The scatter around the urinal has nothing to do with aim. Every man can aim well enough. It is a "cold gun" scenario, in which the barrel is sealed shut. The first shot is wide of the target until the full pressure of the stream opens the valve completely. This may all seem a little graphic, but what the heck! I've heard the comment many times, so maybe a gross and graphic response is deserved.
Posted by Johnnie  on  Wed Mar 03, 2010  at  01:51 PM
Yes, I
Posted by Bunnykins  on  Sat Mar 13, 2010  at  09:15 AM
it's so normal in amsterdam, did you never see it?
Posted by Parkeren Schiphol  on  Thu Jun 17, 2010  at  07:24 AM
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