Probably better to try the obvious i.e. make sure that theres menu entries for the icons - if so just delete/move to wastebin (and empty it) - or if theres no menu entry, then edit it and then delete the icons ?????
Sorry, I'm guessing here, as I don't like gnome and from memory, I should think that under kde it should be possible to just have the icons on one virtual desktop and use a different one as default.