Fulham-Based Ant Business Continues to Expand

Cesar Wang's university side hustle transformed into successful enterprise

Cesar Wang with Australian bulldog ant walking on his hand
Cesar Wang with Australian bulldog ant walking on his hand

May 27, 2024

A passion which began with witnessing a swarm of flying ants in Richmond Park has transformed into a successful business for Cesar Wang.

It led to him taking up keeping ants as a hobby and then the launch of Ants HQ in Fulham which recently needed to expand into larger premises in Fulham.

Studying science A-levels at Holland Park School led Cesar onto a biology degree at university, where he started selling formicariums which are used by people who keep ants.

His business now stocks 150 different species of ants – as well as all the kit for keeping them.

“People’s interest has definitely grown because of television programmes like David Attenborough’s nature shows,” explains Cesar, who has been keeping ants for more than a decade. “I established the business as lockdown started and we were confined to our homes.

People wanted to escape real life by creating these mini ecosystems at home, and having a slice of nature by their home office desk.”

"While ants may seem an unusual pet, their fascinating social systems, cleanliness and ability to fit into small spaces means they are becoming ever more popular," he adds.

From rare Australian bulldog ants – which can grow to 3.5cm – to arboreal stinging ants from South East Asia, there’s plenty to explore in Cesar’s burgeoning ant emporium.

For the 26-year-old, an interest in the six-legged creatures blossomed when he first witnessed a flying ant swarm in Richmond Park as a child.

“Many people hate the flying ants event in the summer but, when I witnessed my first flight in Richmond Park at the age of 12, I was in awe,” explains Cesar.

“I was right in the centre of the flight of these yellow meadow ants.

“In the middle of the city you can’t really see how big that event is but in the park you can see the whole swarm. I thought it was some sort of ant air warfare and I began to research more about them.”

After learning the flying ants swarm is known as the nuptial flight – when the queens will mate with the males, often after summer rains – Cesar began keeping his own colony.

“I was always that weird kid who kept a mini zoo in his home, from hermit crabs to stick insects to mantises and everything in between,” laughs Cesar, who moved to the borough in 2005 after spending his first few years of life in mum Maria’s native Spain. “I even incubated some duck eggs which we later donated to the London Wetland Centre in Barnes.

“I began slowly diversifying my collection and keeping species from around the world such as leafcutter ants from the tropics of South America to primitive jumping ants from South East Asia,” adds Cesar, who also has three turtles in his own wildlife collection.

Online forums and Facebook groups allowed Cesar to begin trading with other ant hobbyists. “

One thing led to another and it suddenly became my side hustle and in sixth form it started gaining some real traction,” he says.

“In my second year of uni, I’d be waking up in the morning fulfilling a few orders. I knew I wanted to graduate from uni and then give it a go.”

From his first tiny office in London Bridge, Cesar’s business expanded enough to allow him to move into larger premises in The Creighton Centre, in Lillie Road.

“There’s a real educational value as they are almost like mini social societies but on a smaller level,” points out Cesar, who even runs corporate events to share the “fascinating and misunderstood creatures”.

Formicariums, which home ant nests, are made from transparent acrylic, wood and even stone allow a colony to exhibit its natural behaviours as the ants tunnel, scout for food and nurture their young larvae.

With the goal of making ant-keeping even more accessible for everyone, Cesar’s day involves creating and designing new ideas for formicariums, as well as expanding his range of products.

“It’s about making ant keeper's lives easier and becoming the brand for all things ants – we just launched our own seed and plant blends for harvester ants and leafcutter ants, for example,” he adds. “Plus, we’ll be feeding and maintaining our own colonies of leafcutter ants, bullet ants and arboreal stinging ants.”

Ant enthusiasts can pick from Cesar’s different food blends that include ingredients from millet and chia seeds, to peanuts, dandelion and raspberry leaves and even rose petals.

“There’s a real appetite for it,” explains Cesar. “When I started keeping ants, you really had to figure it all out for yourself and find the different ingredients from pet shops or supermarkets, but we wanted to help simplify ant-keeping.


“Ants really are for anyone who has an inquisitive mind and is interested in learning more about our natural world.”

Find out more about Ants HQ online or by emailing info@antshq.co.uk.

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