Here in Tennessee, we're required by law to register our hives. I'm not a fan of government either, but have no problem with the bee inspectors. I have never run across an inspector in this state that is not 100% qualified for the job. I've had bees here since 1995 and have never had a "mandatory" inspection of one of my apiaries, though I have called the state to look at a few things I had questions with. As much as I dislike "big government" and regulation of what I consider a hobby, I came to terms with the fact that my state is neither "big government" nor intent on making my life difficult with lots of time-wasting nonsense and red tape. I think Virginia would probably be similar. Here in the south, there are lots of people like us who would rather just be left alone and consider our private property just that... PRIVATE. My state understands that and has afforded me all of the peace and privacy I desire.
I can't think of any state that has the goal of regulating the hobbyist. Their goals are to track the movement of pests such as SHB and imported fire ants, as well as prevent the spread of devastating diseases such as AFB. Protecting the bees from pesticides is quite a nice benefit, too! I register my apiaries every two years and only need to give minimal information such as location, number of hives and honey flow info. If I lost any hives at that location during the previous period, I list that as well. It helps the state keep track of things like CCD, AFB outbreaks, mites, bee paralysis virus, pesticide poisoning, etc... They don't use the information to regulate me, but use it to track the spread of disease, make general assessments of the state of the health of bees in TN, and protect them from pesticide related losses.
I suppose that if the state NEEDED to do an inspection, I would be notified by phone first (another benefit of having the hives registered). The only scenario I can think of that might require that would be an outbreak of AFB or something similar that MUST be contained and destroyed immediately. A knowledgeable and informed beekeeper whom regularly inspects his hives is an asset to the state. A simple conversation may be all that is needed, but if an inspection is absolutely required, it, in most cases, will move briskly if everything is in order. I would not discourage the inspector from coming in such a situation just in case they can spot something I've missed. I would rather burn one hive than have to burn an entire apiary.
Registration's primary benefit for the beekeeper is with the pesticide issue. Honey bees have quite a range when there is a nectar dearth. I seem to recall hearing it was up to 8 miles! That equates to a possible forage area of 201 square miles, or almost 130,000 acres! Anybody in the forage area with a pesticide certificate is notified that I have bees and they contact me when they plan on spraying. It saves my bees which, in turn, help their crops. It's a win-win situation for both of us.
I do keep bees in three different counties and do move hives between the apiaries from time to time. In TN hives must be inspected before you cross county lines with them. It's not a big deal, only takes about 15-20 mins and is completely free. They're mainly looking for imported fire ants, SHB and the like. I find it helpful since I actually have fire ants in one of my apiaries and REALLY don't want to move them to either of my others.
As a side note, inspections aren't always conducted by the state here... Many members of our local associations have taken the inspection courses and can inspect your hives at your request. They can issue health certificates if you plan on crossing county or state lines with the hives, or simply swing by and offer a little help when you need it.
As far as for your scenario with the hive burning, here in TN, ONLY the infected hives are burned. You would want to do that anyway. Even if you soaked you equipment in bleach and dipped it in hot wax, the next colony will still probably end up becoming infected and having to be destroyed, too. The sooner the INFECTED hives are destroyed, the better odds your other hives have of avoiding the disease. The reason the State Apiculturist exists is to protect the bees and help insure their survival, not to destroy healthy bees.